Four UCR students win 2019-20 Fulbright awards

Author: Tess Eyrich
May 3, 2019

Four students of the University of California, Riverside, have received Fulbright awards to conduct research abroad during the 2019-20 academic year. 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the leading international education exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

The program, which operates in more than 140 countries worldwide, currently awards approximately 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study. From UCR, the two doctoral students, one graduating senior, and one recent alumna who received awards this year as part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program are:  

  • Sophea Seng: Seng, a doctoral student in UCR’s anthropology department, will spend her Fulbright term in Italy. Once there, she’ll research and conduct interviews with members of a community of Cambodian refugees who, fleeing genocide, resettled in the northern Italian region of Lombardy in the 1970s, aided mainly by Catholic charitable organizations.
  • Jesse Freedman: Freedman, a doctoral student in UCR’s ethnomusicology program, will pursue a Fulbright project in Chile. Based in the capital city of Santiago, he'll  examine protest music among Chileans who immigrated to East Germany to escape the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet between the 1970s and ’90s and have since resettled in Chile. 
  • Cebrina Nolan: Nolan, who will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in entomology, previously served as one of the lead investigators of the Emerald Jewel Wasp Project in the lab of entomology and neuroscience professor Michael Adams. Her Fulbright will see her travel to Brisbane, Australia, to investigate the structure and function of omega-agatoxins from American funnel-web spider venom.
  • Russel Altamirano: Altamirano, a UCR alumna, graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in art history. Her receipt of a Fulbright Community-Based Combined Grant will allow her to pursue a community-based internship or service project in Vienna while also working as an English teaching assistant and taking university courses on a part-time basis.

During their grant periods, Fulbrighters meet, work, live with, and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think.